Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview


This dusty room is my self-portrait. I have a dog and a book of maps, each blue page a brilliant landscape. I have a religion based on books and also being kind. My favorite map is the Pacific Ocean, deep enough for all the hells and heavens so I don’t have to keep them in my pockets. I am wearing pink pajamas and a pair of reading glasses—in case you need that level of detail. I have a radio but rarely turn it on. It’s full of English words and I have shelves and shelves of those. I prefer the Spanish language stations moving in waves through the dark night to my study. I hear te amo. I hear el presidente está muerto. I hear the world of difference creak between the two like the earth’s crust underneath my slippers. I have a sleepy terrier lying at those same feet. I have a longing to find God, but am uncertain how to reach him. Someday, I may come across a map that tells me. I’ve been looking but I may have to go before I find one without even my good dog along to help me, but I have my unspent kindness. I keep it in a jar. With it, I illuminate this page. It will help me know where I must go. According to my books there may be music and all-consuming angels with their tongues aflame. Or there may be nothing breathing nothing—and then again, the two may be the same.  

return to top